The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Moira Vahey, Free Press, (202) 265-1490 x31

Major U.S. Consumer Groups Support FCC Action on Net Neutrality


28 major U.S. consumer and public interest groups, including Free
Press, signed on today to a letter to Federal Communications Commission
Chair Julius Genachowski in support of stronger Net Neutrality rules.
The FCC is releasing proposed new rules at a meeting on Thursday.

Craig Aaron, senior program director at Free Press, made the following statement:

"The fight for Net Neutrality is often mistakenly portrayed as a
clash of corporate interests. That's simply not the case. Certain
companies may oppose Net Neutrality or sow unfounded fears about what
the FCC is doing, but consumer groups and public advocates are united
in their support for an open Internet. The FCC should not be deterred
by the phone and cable industry's attempts to muddy this debate with
myths, misdirection and manufactured outrage. We need strong and clear
Net Neutrality rules now to safeguard the Internet's future."

Read the letter here:

Full Text of the Letter

The Honorable Julius Genachowski
Federal Communications Commission
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, DC 20554

Dear Chairman Genachowski:

The undersigned public interest groups write to express our strong
support for your recent announcement that the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) will begin a public proceeding that will ensure an
open and nondiscriminatory Internet.

Since its creation, the Internet was intended to be a medium
controlled by users, not by network access providers. As a result, it
has become the most democratic medium this country, and the world, has
ever known. The power that an open Internet vests in individuals has
resulted in an unprecedented surge in creativity, innovation, and civic
discourse. The open Internet has generated billions of dollars in
investment, by network operators and Web-based companies, opening up
new opportunities for consumers while creating thousands of jobs.

Since 2005, the future of an open Internet has been unclear. We
wholeheartedly support your effort to bring certainty to network
providers, applications and service providers and the public through
rules that will ensure that the FCC can preserve an open and
nondiscriminatory Internet.

Over the past two weeks, the largest telephone and cable companies
have launched an intense lobbying campaign to oppose meaningful rules
using dire yet vague predictions of doom if the FCC acts to preserve
the Internet's traditional openness. This outcry over a proposal the
public has yet to see is clearly intended to halt the dialogue over the
proper rules of the road for an open Internet before it even starts.

We urge you to continue with the process you have set out. We are
also encouraged by the Administration's statement this weekend about
the importance of an open Internet. We believe this will best serve the
public. So far, 1.6 million Americans have spoken they do not want the
Internet to become just another closed network where large media
entities pick winners and losers, like broadcasting and cable. We are
confident that even more Americans will rally to the cause in the
months ahead.

You have dedicated your Chairmanship to guaranteeing that the
public's needs are served first. As representatives of the public in
the nation's capital and throughout the United States, we applaud the
FCC for beginning a process that seeks to ensure that users will
continue to reap the benefits of an open Internet.

Respectfully submitted,

Helen Soule
Executive Director
Alliance for Community Media

Michael McLeod-Bell
Acting Director, Washington Office
American Civil Liberties Union

Lynne E. Bradley, Director
Office of Government Relations
American Library Association

Prudence Adler
Associate Executive Director
Federal Relations and Information Policy
Association of Research

Charles Benton
Benton Foundation

Mark Cooper
Research Director
Consumer Federation of America

Michael Bracy
Policy Director
Future of Music Coalition

Leslie Harris
President & CEO
Center for Democracy and Technology

Marc Rotenberg
Executive Director
Electronic Privacy Information Center

Brewster Kahle
Director and Co-Founder
Internet Archive

Bob Edgar
President & CEO
Common Cause

Ben Scott
Policy Director
Free Press

James Love
Knowledge Ecology International

Andrew Jay Schwartzman
President and CEO
Media Access Project

Michael Calabrese
Vice President and Director of Wireless Future Program
New America Foundation

Matthew R. Rantanen
Director of Technology
Tribal Digital Village

Beth McConnell
Executive Director
Media and Democracy Coalition

Sascha Meinrath
Director Open Technology Initiative
New America Foundation

Cheryl Leanza
Policy Director
United Church of Christ, Office of Communication, Inc.

Helen DeMichiel
National Alliance for Media, Arts and Culture

Gigi B. Sohn
President & Co-Founder
Public Knowledge

Edmund Mierzwinski
Consumer Program Director and Senior Fellow

Carol Pierson
President and CEO
National Federation of Community Broadcasters

Douglas Newcomb
Chief Policy Officer
Special Libraries Association

John Kosinski
Political Director
Writers Guild of America, West

Free Press was created to give people a voice in the crucial decisions that shape our media. We believe that positive social change, racial justice and meaningful engagement in public life require equitable access to technology, diverse and independent ownership of media platforms, and journalism that holds leaders accountable and tells people what's actually happening in their communities.

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